20 March 2012
Banking group Absa and the Department of Science and Technology have signed an agreement to collaborate on a range of technology and agricultural business development programmes aimed at stimulating South Africa’s growth trajectory.
Speaking in Pretoria on Monday after signing the memorandum of understanding, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said the partnership was in line with the government’s bid to find “sustainable strategies to increase investment in research and development, and also stimulate business to do the same”.
Closing the ‘innovation chasm’
In terms of the agreement, the department and Absa will work together on human capital development, technology commercialisation, renewable energy technologies, information communication technology (ICT) and agricultural business development.
Pandor said the partnership would help to address the “innovation chasm” in ICT, information security and renewable energy technologies.
Underlying the collaboration was an attempt to create “synergies in the research, development and innovation enterprise,” Pandor said, adding that it was crucial for South Africa to promote a prosperous society that derived equitable benefits from science and technology.
Partnerships for human development
Absa’s chief executive for retail and business banking, Bobby Malabie, said Absa was committed to helping the government widen access to high-level graduate programmes in science and engineering.
“Our role extends beyond that of a mere bank,” Malabie said. “We are a true partner in society as we take a step closer today towards realising the desired partnership with universities to attract quality graduates who will be able to advance the fields of science, engineering and technology.
“It is only through industrial, governmental and educational partnerships that this can be achieved,” he said.